Sunday, June 11, 2006

Civil War News

One hundred and forty-one years after the end of the American Civil War, it's still making the news this weekend.

In Massachusetts, the remains of six Union soldiers who died in an early battle have finally been returned home. They had spent about 130 years in an un-marked grave in Virginia when they were discovered in the early 1990s.

The site where they were buried was slated for the construction of a new McDonald's when relic hunters found them. They turned the remains over to the Smithsonian Institution, where they stayed another decade while their possible identities were researched.

While they have possible names for the men, they don't know which bones go with which identities. Nor have they been able to track down any living family members to do DNA testing. So, they will be buried together again, but this time at least a little closer to home.

Meanwhile, at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist groups staged a rally in honor of the Confederate cause. About 30 of these "ghosts of the Confederacy" gathered for speeches honoring those who "fought for our liberty as white men."

An equal number of counter-protestors showed up to denounce the racist message of the rally. Both groups were vastly out-numbered by approximately 200 police officers who managed to keep the protests apart and prevent any violence.

Old wars never really end once they enter history. They still echo through the culture and society, forming the psyches of the winners and losers. So, how long do you think we'll be feeling the effects of our current escapade in Iraq?

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